Listening to the LordBy Andrea Stephens Tidings April 2017
Emmie Galle experienced that strange nervous feeling that came over her whenever she sensed the Lord encouraging her to say yes to something outside of her comfort zone. Everything within her was hesitant, but she heard herself agreeing to be part of the next Discipleship Pathway. Even though she had not previously participated in the program, she knew it was a new venture here at Asbury and was interested in knowing more.
Pastor Todd Craig is the one who recommended Emmie for this position. The two had become serving partners at Habitat for Humanity several years ago when Emmie and her family were part of this project. They also crossed paths during several 2nd Saturday projects (Asbury’s monthly local outreach). Emmie’s kind heart and willingness to reach out made an impression on Pastor Todd. So did her involvement with missions. Emmie has been on several mission trips, both as a student and then as a student leader. Over the past few years, she accompanied our students to Houston, Jamaica, Guatemala and Rio Bravo, Mexico. She first fell in love with missions while on a trip to Tanzania. Her real reason for signing up for the trip was to just get away! Being in flux during her junior year in high school, she found herself feeling depressed, stuck in family discord she couldn’t figure out, and struggling with her life’s direction. She wanted to escape so she could breathe, refocus and discern God’s leading for her future. Being in a third-world country had a huge impact on her. “People there felt so blessed in ways we can’t even imagine—things we take for granted. I realized my problems were so small, that I was part of something much bigger, and that the Lord was the only one constant in my life. I needed to sit quiet with Him to hear how He was leading me.”
Fast forward to Guatemala with Asbury’s 11th graders. Each leader was required to speak one night to the students. She had prayed, read the Bible and waited. She had nothing. She started to panic a bit. Then right before she was to stand before 50 sets of eyes, a conversation took place among some students and a leader. She watched how passionately the students spoke of God’s love for each of us. That was it. The Holy Spirit urged her to share how incredible God’s love isunchanging, unending, never failing, and pure. He flowed through her as she shared how God loves them through all they have experienced.
Pastor Todd was also aware that Emmie was a small group leader every Sunday night for Asbury students. In fact, she started five years ago with a group of sophomore girls. She stayed with them through graduation and loved the relationships that she built with them. With her girls off to college, she volunteered to start with a group of 7th-grade girls. This would allow her to stay with them through middle school and high school. What Emmie experienced during her younger years were youth leaders who would come and go all the time. She wants her girls to have a different experience. She wants to be a consistent presence in their lives, someone they can look to and count on.
Desiring to make a difference in others’ lives is another reason Pastor Todd had his eye on Emmie. In his mind, she would be a great addition to the Discipleship Pathway team who want all participants to feel welcomed and valued. And he was right. Being a single 25-year old makes her a millennial who can relate to her peers who are signing up for the Pathway. Emmie is a branch administrator at SpiritBank and is about to graduate from Southern Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She plans to follow this up with a specialization in project management. Her goal is to become a business analyst. The keen insight needed for this type of profession is part of what makes Emmie good at her role in the Discipleship Pathway as a table host.
Following the Welcome Brunch, the five-week format of the Discipleship Pathway gives an overview of the Bible to help participants deepen their understanding of God’s story and their place in His story. In addition to this, the goal is to connect people with others, with a pastor, with both Learn2 courses and Serve2 teams, and to walk people through the Asbury membership process. While doing this, they alternate between speakers and table discussions led by the table host. This is where Emmie comes in. In her first five-week session, she shadowed another table host. Then she led her own table discussions.
Each table host facilitates a discussion about the information shared and encourages participants to share their story about following Jesus. Emmie said in leading these discussions, she realized very quickly that she was just as thirsty for knowledge as those going through the Pathway. “I have met some pretty beautiful people that come from different faiths, homes and upbringings. These people were asking the same questions that have always been in the back of my mind, so we were able to build off of each other’s thoughts and experiences. I was very fortunate to have Pastor Charlie Ryser and his wife sit at my table because the knowledge, theology and truth that he provided impacted us all,” Emmie shared. Fortunate and blessed, indeed. Every Discipleship Pathway has a pastor present to answer questions as needed.
Emmie learned that as a table host she didn’t need to know all the answers but to know and trust that God had a much bigger and more perfect plan than we could ever imagine. “Hearing what the speakers had to say about the Bible, Jesus, and the church made me realize that God has designed each person to fit perfectly into His puzzle. We may not understand what is going on or why things happen the way they do, but that’s because we cannot see past our blind spots and forget to take into consideration what God has already done, what He is doing, and what He has promised to do,” Emmie reported.
Prior to the Discipleship Pathway, Emmie was already involved with Learn2 and Serve2. The first two Sundays of the month, known as Alpha, she was attending the Learn2 course on worship, one of the “core courses.” The second two Sundays of the month, known as Omega, she was serving as a greeter. Emmie has enjoyed this new format because it allows her to build her faith and then use it to help others follow Jesus.
So today, if someone asked Emmie if she is glad that she stepped out of her comfort zone and said yes to the invitation to be part of the Discipleship Pathway, she would flash a smile that would answer the question without saying a word. Emmie believes that no matter where you have been or where you are, the Lord has a plan for you but you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zones, take that leap of faith and follow Him!